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Ask Auntie Pinko

March 23, 2006
Is there something wrong with the way police are being trained? Is it a problem with the command structure? Are local politicians demanding unrealistic results? What's going on? It seems to me that the backlash from incidents like this could have exactly the opposite result: worse, not better, law enforcement.

March 16, 2006
During the 2004 primaries, Howard Dean ended up being portrayed as a wacky, angry, certifiably insane al-Qaeda loving communist. I don't understand where this bogus Dean came from. Who was vilifying him? And why? And how? I'm utterly bemused.

March 9, 2006
I live in Australia. I have read books by Jon Stewart and Al Franken and really enjoyed both of them, but as a result of geographic distance from the U.S., I really don't know which authors I should be looking out for. I know to steer clear of nutters like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, but beyond that I'm really in the dark. Could you perhaps let me know who the best liberal authors (or podcast casters) are so that I can try and track them down?

March 2, 2006
I'm not a liberal and I'll never be one. I'll oppose big government financed by out-of-control taxes, nanny state welfare programs, and the silly idea that we can make the world a better place by wringing our hands and preaching earnest homilies at the UN, until I die. But I'm fed up with Bush! Is there anything I can do, short of joining the Democratic Party, to stop this madness?

February 16, 2006
What is "gerrymandering"? I know that somehow Tom DeLay was instrumental in changing the Congressional districts in Texas to obtain a greater number of Republican electoral votes, or a greater number of Republican congressional seats. But how does this work?

February 9, 2006
I would really appreciate it if you could provide a succinct, talking points type rebuttal to the Republicans' constant anti-tax rhetoric, which they use to beat Democrats over the head.

February 2, 2006
I look at how Bush's poll numbers are again rising, despite his obvious failures of leadership, and I am starting to wonder what the use is in trying to fix a system for people who obviously don't care and/or don't understand.

January 26, 2006
We have all read about the "shortcomings" of George W. and how he may have been put into office. I would like your opinion on why, what is the real agenda and who are the people behind the effort it took to do this? Without this knowledge we are powerless to stop the ruination of out country.

January 19, 2006
I am a fairly new convert to the left. I am a long-term supporter of what the right wing once claimed to stand for; balanced budgets, less intrusive government, isolationism. But one thing I don't embrace is gun control. Why is gun control a liberal issue?

January 12, 2006
I'm aware that many Democrats think the Abramoff scandal is just a Republican scandal, and no doubt there are Republicans out there trying to blame Democrats. But I've done my own searching, and I can't see how anyone could claim it's just one party. It looks to me to be a scandal stretching across all party lines. In light of this, what should we do?

January 5, 2006
Between the illegal domestic spying, Plamegate, and the Abramoff scandal growing tentacles in every direction at once, I have to wonder if "the world as we know it" is ending, politically speaking. If so, what can we expect in a post-apocalyptic America? And will all this shady financial stuff and illegal power-grabbing take the Alito nomination and the fundy nutballs down in its wake?

December 15, 2005
I believe we're not far from developing some scientifically valid way of predicting a tendency on the part of a fetus to develop into a gay child. I also believe, based on my three decades living in the Bible belt, that it would take all of fifteen minutes for the fake Christians to find a way to justify aborting all of those fetuses. Is this a valid concern? Does it necessitate modifying my staunchly pro-choice stand?

December 8, 2005
If America's fundy Christians believe that America is supposed to be a "Christian nation," what exactly does that imply? Does a Christian nation declare unprovoked war? Is democracy even Christian? What do you think a real "Christian nation" would look like?

December 1, 2005
Assuming that the Republican Party will complete its work of self-destruction in the next year, and that thereafter the American people don't elect another Republican administration for a few decades, how long will it take us to restore any kind of credibility, trust, and goodwill in the world? If it's possible at all?

November 10, 2005
I don't want the military, the CIA or anyone else to practice torture in my name. It seems Bush wants accused or suspected "terra-ists" in CIA custody to think they might be tortured. Presumably, they'll be so afraid of it they'll talk. Will they? Is this a valid way to get evildoers to rat out their friends and prevent their nefarious plans from succeeding?

October 27, 2005
I have noticed a general opinion that poverty is solely the individual's fault. I think that it is this belief that is keeping there from being more effort to help the poor. What causes this, what as an individual can I do about it, and is there any hope for the future?

October 20, 2005
It appears to me that there is one issue on which almost all Democrats should be able to agree: Bush should be impeached. Given the current state of affairs and the far-from-rosy prospects, my question, Auntie Pinko, is: what on earth are Democratic members of Congress waiting for?

October 13, 2005
Didn't the American economy work better (fairly, productively) in the '50s and '60s when there were some government restrictions on major industries/services - such as the airlines, railroads, trucking industry, oil production, and when the strong unions produced a prosperous middle class?

October 6, 2005
The Bush Administration is a sewer of cronyism and graft. Please, please, please, Auntie, tell me that the Democrats are going to put a stop to cronyism, and that America is going to wake up to the smelly mess that is the GOP, and pitch it out with the rest of the toxic waste!

September 29, 2005
I'm starting to get worried about the rate Bush and the Republican Congress are spending at now. A few billion here, a few billion there, and pretty soon, what? A few hundred billion in Iraq, a few hundred billion in transportation bill pork, and now we have to clean up after Katrina, too? Where is all the money going to come from?

September 15, 2005
I admit that when I first heard Dennis Hastert say that New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt, I was furious-who is he to decide, for one thing? But the more I read about the city and the engineering problems, the more problematic it sounds, even to me. Is there a solution to this problem?

September 8, 2005
The biggest disaster to hit the United States in my lifetime is not named Katrina, it's called George W. Bush. I'm sorry I voted for him. I'm ready to believe the Democrats could do better. Is there any way to find out how without hearing about evil property developers draining swamps, and allocating money for college women's field hockey teams, and ensuring that gay men can be Scout Masters?

September 1, 2005
How much of a disaster will it be to have John Roberts on the Supreme Court? What should Democrats do about it? Some people are saying we could shoot ourselves in the foot if we oppose Roberts when there are so many worse candidates. By Auntie Pinko

August 18, 2005
The recent eminent domain ruling by the Supreme Court has me a bit perplexed. It seems like a blow to personal ownership rights and a win for big business, things that I associate mostly with Republicans. Why then would the left-leaning justices vote in favor of the ruling?

August 11, 2005
My name is John, and I'm a corporal in the USMC. I'm a Republican. My question is: what is the best way to try to calm down a screaming liberal, and help to present your side so that they can make a rational decision on whether I'm just another idiot, or a person that has put a lot of thought into his beliefs?

August 4, 2005
I'm having a hard time coming out as a liberal to my parents, who are hardcore Bush-supporting Republicans. How do I approach them in a way that won't cause too much familial disturbance?

July 28, 2005
Were the recent bombings in London designed by different terrorists - ones who wanted to change Tony Blair's G8 agenda? The same people who want the world to forget starving Africans and global warming and instead stay focused on the war against terrorists? Just an evil thought from a very skeptical citizen...

July 22, 2005
I'm a Christian. In fact, you could call me a fundamentalist Christian. I've noticed a lot of Democrats show nothing but contempt for us just because we tend to vote Republican. Can you help me understand what it is about us the Democrats don't like?

July 15, 2005
A right-wing colleague stated: five percent of Americans pay 54 percent of all personal income taxes. They do not use more government services than other Americans; they use fewer. Why is this fair?

July 7, 2005
I am a Republican as well as a daily reader of the Democratic Underground. I am disheartened and saddened by the policies and actions of the Bush administration, but I can't break myself from the assertion that Democrats are simply becoming a party of anger. Any advice, or suggestions?

June 30, 2005
Although Air America Radio's popularity is growing, it is still a very small part of the radio fare compared to the vast wasteland of conservative talk radio. Do you think its possible for leftie radio to ever reach the same popularity levels?

June 23, 2005
Let's assume Bush is guilty of the following: lies, lies, and more lies. Since when is lying a crime? As they say on "Law and Order," if that's all you got on him, get back out on the streets and get me something else. Because we can't convict him on 1st degree lying.

June 16, 2005
I want to join the fight, I want to help. I want to discuss things, I want my opinion to be heard and to matter, I want to know the correct people to ask my questions of, and be "someone" enough to get them answered. How does one get into a position to know, and to do, what I want?

June 9, 2005
I'm not old enough to remember Watergate. But from what I know, it doesn't sound to me like Nixon did anything worse than what the Bushies have been doing to Democrats for the last six years. How come Nixon had to resign, but no one seems to care what Bush and Rove, etc., are doing?

June 2, 2005
I am surrounded. Republicans everywhere. How do I work and interact with these people on a day to day basis? How can I respect and admire anyone who is pro-Bush or his administration? How do I not hold these people in such contempt? Please tell me.

May 26, 2005
Did the Democrats win anything in the deal that was cut to keep Senate Republicans from using the "nuclear option?" Wouldn't we have been better off to just let the Republicans invoke the "nuclear option," and have all the Democrats walk out and refuse to cooperate with the raping of the checks and balances system?

May 19, 2005
Don't you think that rich Democrats are not any different than rich Republicans? Or does being a rich Democrat somehow change the mindset of a wealthy person to that of an altruistic proponent of charity and their fellow man, while a rich Republican is automatically changed to nothing more than a robber baron?

May 12, 2005
Polls show Republicans score higher on national defense and security issues. This notion is so ingrained in the American public that John Kerry, a documented war hero with a history of supporting defense budgets, lost to a shirker like George Bush. How did Democrats get a reputation for being weak on defense?

May 5, 2005
I am a member of the College Democrats at a university in Alabama. We have tried reasoned discourse. We have tried protests. We have tried public debates. None of them have worked. How can we get our message out to the students and show that Democrats are not so far to the left, but instead a mainstream ideal?

April 28, 2005
Conservatives today have their seemingly endless array of boogeymen and scapegoats - the liberal media, the teachers' unions, trial lawyers, etc. But it seems that few things rile up conservatives more than "activist judges." My question is: what, in your opinion, is the proper role of the judiciary?

April 21, 2005
Many if not nearly all on the left seem to advocate extreme behavior if not violence when confronting the right, whether in a protest, dialog, or other venues. The Democrats are the party of tolerance, peace, understanding, and intellectual debate. Why do I see so much which would lead me to believe otherwise? On balance, it appears that the left has really gotten out of hand. What say you?

April 14, 2005
What kind of society do the Republicans envision if they get their way? Are they seeking a return to the Middle Ages with some sort of modern-day equivalent of serfs and vassals serving a hugely wealthy few on bended knee? This is a serious question, by the way!

April 7, 2005
What can we do about the problems of an increasingly non-responsive and out-of-control judiciary that refuses to uphold civil rights laws, hate crimes statutes, and even the Constitutional rights to privacy and free speech? Should all judges be elected for short terms so that they are always accountable to the people? Why did those dumb Founding Fathers make the judiciary so independent?

March 31, 2005
Has the GOP shot itself in the foot over the Terri Schiavo case by allowing the spotlight to be shone on its radical element?

March 24, 2005
With Egypt announcing plans for democracy and new upraising in Lebanon, the United States is giving itself tremendous amounts of credit for creating a "domino democracy effect." How much of this is due to the war in Iraq, and when, if ever, do we start giving Bush credit for this?

March 17, 2005
Energy might be a big issue in 2008. So what would Auntie Pinko's "National Energy Policy" encompass? Could Auntie's NEP keep us economically competitive while also making us less reliant on energy imported from unstable regions of the world?

March 10, 2005
I don't see why responsible people should have to bear the burden for irresponsible people who overspend their income and can't say "no" to their kids. What's wrong with bankruptcy reform? Shouldn't people have to pay the price for their own irresponsibility?

March 3, 2005
In a recent column, you stated that the Democratic Party's one simple promise should be that it "will not rest until any American willing to work forty hours a week can support a family of four in safe and decent living conditions." As a goal that sounds just wonderful. But how is that to be achieved?

February 24, 2005
The Democratic Party has finally elected a Chair with a little backbone. I've already signed on to the DNC website and left a feedback note about the directions I think we should take in the next four years. What would your advice to Dr. Dean be? Where do you think he should take us over the next four years?

February 17, 2005
I am puzzled by the Democratic Party's seeming inability to avoid fratricide. Will Rogers was right when he gave the following answer to a question about his political affiliation: "I belong to no organized political party. I am a Democrat." Is there hope?

February 10, 2005
I'm 9 months sober. I have a sponsor whose hard-hitting approach to AA helped keep me sober when all else had failed; but now I'm finding he applies that same black-and-white thinking to gays, liberal organizations, and just about anything that doesn't fit into his square head. My recovery has made me more mindful of my own views, yet I don't want to become closed minded, the very thing I hate about him. Do you have any insights?

February 3, 2005
Seems to me any system that requires for its success the complete revision of human nature is, by definition, doomed. Isn't the strength of capitalism and democracy the fact that they assume human nature as we know it and attempt to weave a social cloth around it?

January 21, 2005
Everyone is all abuzz about the possible dismantling of Social Security. I know there are definitely two schools of thought and yes, I'm confused. What is your take on President Bush's proposed plan regarding private investment accounts?

January 13, 2005
I am a libertarian-leaning conservative. My question for you is actually rather simple. What do you think about the Soviet Union? By Auntie Pinko

January 6, 2005
Since the election my husband has been in a deep depression. I know this is a big problem but am hoping that you have some advice for me. Since you are the voice of reason I'm hoping he will listen to you.

December 16, 2004
What ARE we going to do about the increasingly obvious signs of election finagling? How can we do something about this? When do we stop acting beaten and start getting insistent on some real democracy at home before trying to export it elsewhere?

December 9, 2004
The holidays are fast approaching, which means spending time with my gun-toting, liberal-hating, ultra-conservative father. Any suggestions about how to survive the holidays with your conservative relatives without ending up in a huge screaming match?

December 2, 2004
Many of our progressive friends are already promoting Sen. Hillary Clinton as their favored candidate for 2008. Should we jump on this bandwagon, or not?

November 18, 2004
I feel that the Democratic Party is becoming less concerned about Israel. Why are we growing more concerned about non-quintessential issues like taxing the rich? Is there a growing sense of anti-Semitism amongst the Democratic elite as there is in Europe? Why is it that we are going much the way of socialism?

November 11, 2004
Can you offer a glimmer of hope, as to how the country may come to its collective senses? What has to happen in order for people to wake up? Please suggest how I can look on the bright side. I really need a silver lining to this enormous grey cloud.

October 28, 2004
I feel good about voting for Kerry on the Iraq issue, even though I'm a more 'conservative' independent usually. Where I have doubts is on Kerry's approach to the economy. What makes you think he'll do a good job on the economy?

October 22, 2004
I will be voting for John Kerry on November 2nd, and I truly believe he will start the much-needed (possibly painful) turn-around that America sorely needs. I understand that the mess we are in now will not disappear overnight. But I am afraid that the rest of the country will blame the Democrats.

October 15, 2004
Liberals may not want the government in our bedroom, but when it comes to the rest of the house, liberals seem to want the government in every other room. Why can't the government stay out of my entire house - bedroom included?

October 8, 2004
Why do we bother with debates by the vice-presidential candidates? Does it make any impact on the outcome at all to have the vice-presidential candidates debate? By Auntie Pinko

September 23, 2004
I am absolutely disheartened by the latest polls and by my anxiety over all the shenanigans of Karl Rove. How optimistic are you, dear Auntie? Please, please lift up my morale!

September 16, 2004
An election season twofer from Auntie to celebrate 150 columns on Democratic Underground!

September 9, 2004
I believe there are some things that are always wrong and always immoral, and that I shouldn't have to approve of them or even "tolerate" them. Is there anything, besides "intolerance," that liberals think is always immoral?

September 2, 2004
Is the press really turning into a branch of government? Is there anything we can do about it?

August 26, 2004
I have to admit a perverse desire to vote for Bush this November. Sometimes it seems easier and more productive to break the system than to try and fix it. Is there any merit to this?

August 19, 2004
I'm a moderate with no strong political ties to either party. So here is my question... why am I hated by both sides yet coveted as a voter?

August 12, 2004
I am a Mexican national. My daughter was born in America, so she is an American citizen by birth. For me it is an honor teaching as much as I know about American history, culture and the real meaning of being an American citizen, even if I do not have the honor of being one.

July 22, 2004
I am very young and have not paid any attention to politics at all until about a year ago. My question is, has any other president been treated like this before? How bad is Bush compared to the 42 other men in his position over the entire history of this country?

July 15, 2004
I'm all confused and worried. Are my marriage and my children's marriages in danger from all those married gay people in Massachusetts? What are they going to do to us? Will they find a way to make us get divorced?

July 8, 2004
Why is everyone writing off Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 as "propaganda for the faithful?" As far as I can tell, none of Moore's factual material was inaccurate, and he was honest about his opinions. What's the difference between an "opinion piece" and "propaganda?"

July 1, 2004
A couple of friends of mine who have been staunch Republicans all their lives are making noises about being unhappy with Bush. Is there anything I can do to get them firmly on our side?

June 17, 2004
I am a Catholic who was born in the early 1980s. Needless to say, I don't really remember very much about Ronald Reagan. I was definitely under the impression that he was not such a great President, but now I'm not so sure. Should I be petitioning the Pope to canonize him?

June 10, 2004
Since Jefferson and the lads, when they wrote the "Sacred Scripture" of the Constitution, regarded what they wrote as universal, does this mean non-United States citizens have a "right" to exercise the rights associated with the Constitution? Such as voting for the removal of the Presidential incumbent?

June 3, 2004
With all the money that George Soros has given to political groups, do you think that he is a threat to democracy?

May 27, 2004
Well, a bunch of gay couples got married in Massachusetts this week. Can we expect the Rapture before the end of the month?

May 20, 2004
NOW is it time for us to get out of Iraq?

May 13, 2004
Who's responsible for what happened in Abu Ghraib? The reservists on duty? Their commanding officers? Military Intelligence? The Pentagon (Rumsfeld)? The Bush Administration? Who?

April 29, 2004
The current administration has mentioned several times that increasing home values and record home ownership is evidence that our economy is strong, and average folks are benefiting. But it's getting more and more difficult to afford a house. In your opinion, are 'average folks' really benefiting from the housing boom?

April 22, 2004
I am an 8-year veteran of the US Army. My question is simple: where were the anti-war activists during Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, and Rwanda? I see this "movement" against war that I feel is insincere. I believe, from my experience, that you people do more to damage the safety of others than help.

April 1, 2004
If Bush turns running Iraq over to the Iraqi people in July, will there be enough time for everything to go to hell in a handbasket before the election? How many American lives is it likely to cost in the mean time? And if John Kerry is elected, do you think he will bring the troops home right away? And if he does, will the Iraqis stop blowing things up and shooting people?

March 25, 2004
I've had good luck in finding jobs where I can get health insurance so far, even when it costs so much. But what am I going to do when I get too old to find jobs with health insurance? I read how employers that provide health insurance are more and more reluctant to hire older workers because they push up health insurance bills. Will Medicare be around when I retire? Will it be worth anything?

March 18, 2004
Is casino gambling the answer to states' economic woes?

March 4, 2004
I just saw the movie "The Fog of War" about Robert McNamara and the US involvement in Vietnam. It left me with a lot of questions. Did we have a good reason for getting into Vietnam? Did we have a good reason for getting out when we did? And are there really a lot of similarities between Vietnam and Iraq?

February 26, 2004
I'm very confused about the business of free trade. Obviously Bush is doing the wrong thing, but are the Democratic candidates doing the right thing? I can't imagine either strategy (protectionism or free trade) really being good for everyone in the long run, but what's the answer?

February 19, 2004
Rather than answer a question from someone this week, Auntie would like to beg your indulgence while I start something new. Because I feel so very strongly about the issue of REGISTERING VOTERS (as you may have seen last week) I want to do something special, involving you - Democratic Underground readers!

February 12, 2004
I am a Democrat ready to hit the streets and campaign for a truly ELECTED president. I can't wait! Anyone but Bush! What do you think is the best use of my time until the front-runner emerges?

February 5, 2004
Today, it's Auntie's Odds & Ends - several smaller items that have been floating around in the mailbag for awhile...

January 22, 2004
Many of my friends are conservatives who make the case that although vouchers may not be the complete answer to what ails our public schools, it is at least a fresh idea with some perhaps limited promise. Same argument about charter schools. I desperately want to throw some Democratic ideas back at them to show that my party is not totally bereft of fresh thinking on this subject but I don't really know of anything the party is promoting.

January 15, 2004
Whenever there is an increase in the alert "color," what does that REALLY mean for the average person, even in New York? Become more vigilant? Look for anything that is suspicious? I am at a loss as to what to look for. What is "more suspicious?" How come in the past, security was able to operate without all these "advertisements?" Who are the real terrorists?

January 8, 2004
While I did vote for Bush in the 2000 elections and would rather not re-live the Florida re-count (yet again!), don't you think it's time that Democrats everywhere move on? And one of my biggest gripes with the Democrats has been this obsession that we need to involve the UN in the handling of Iraq...

Auntie's Archives (2004)
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